It’s time once again for the Boys of October to shine. Both the National League and the American League of Major League Baseball are working to determine champion teams that will compete beginning October 22 in the World Series.
For some baseball fans, the season may be as good as finished. If your team had a season skirting the toilet bowl, you may be just as happy to move on to football or hockey – or heck, another big sport which is just beginning its competitive season: figure skating. If you’re fortunate enough to have a team that’s still in it, so to speak, you are probably employing all your DVR technical skills to ensure you don’t miss a minute of the big games that make our national pastime such a diehard tradition for so many.It’s Time Once Again for the Boys of October to Shine
Baseball, or a form of it, has been popular in America since the time of the Revolutionary War. At that time, men and boys played various versions of the game using improvised equipment, and even arranged tournaments between different church groups and communities. Diary entries have been discovered from England dating as far back as 1755 discussing baseball, and the first mention of an actual game in what became the United States comes from a diary entry dated in 1792.
The New York Knickerbockers are considered the first organized team to have played under modern rules. In 1857, six New York-area clubs joined to form the National Association of Base Ball Players, with membership rising to 400 clubs by 1867. Some member clubs were located in cities as far away as California.
In 1870, controversy arose concerning the issue of professional baseball players. In 1871, the NABBP split into two separate organizations: the National Association of Amateur Baseball Players, which lasted only a few years, and the also short-lived National Association of Professional Base Ball Players.
The National Association was dominated for most of its duration – from 1871 through 1875 – by the Boston Red Stockings. The Boston team, now known as the Red Sox, benefitted from its establishment in a city that was large enough to financially support a major league baseball team. Other teams in the National Association were the Chicago White Stockings, the Washington Nationals (also known as the Washington Blue Legs), the Cleveland Forest Citys, the Fort Wayne Kekiongas, the New York Mutuals, the Rockford Forest Citys, the Troy Haymakers, the Washington Olympics, the Brooklyn Athletics, the Brooklyn Eckfords, the Baltimore Canaries, the Middletown Mansfields, the Baltimore Marylands, the Philadelphia Athletics, the Philadelphia White Stockings (also called the Pearls or the Phillies), the Elizabeth Resolutes, the Hartford Dark Blues, the Philadelphia Centennials, the New Haven Elm Citys, the St. Louis Brown Stockings, and the St. Louis Red Stockings.
In addition to the number of smaller cities that were unsuccessful at maintaining the cost of the baseball teams, the National Association suffered because there was no central authority governing the league and because of interference by gambling interests.
Because of the success of the cities of Cincinnati and Boston at demonstrating the financial viability of their baseball teams, several clubs joined together to replace the National Association with the Nation League. Rival leagues were not successful until the founding of the American League in 1901 – a league that evolved from the Western League, a minor league group of clubs that was first established in 1893.
The leagues worked together to develop new rules and standards for both the game itself and equipment. Prior to that time, standards between leagues – and even individual clubs – could vary widely.
Since the early days of the sport, there has come the rise and fall of the Negro Leagues, which disbanded during the Great Depression, and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which started as a softball league prior to World War II, and took on the AAGBPL moniker in 1943. However, the game actually played by the ladies included a mix of softball and baseball rules and equipment. It was not until 1954 that the league began to play true baseball as a last-ditch effort to save the league from extinction. Playing like the boys did not extend the life of the league, which folded following the 1954 season.
In addition to American baseball, leagues have been founded throughout the world.
When you tune in to watch your team on the diamond, remember that you are part of sports history that goes back more than 200 years. Show your team spirit on a daily basis with a pair of “lucky” sports team cufflinks. There are cufflinks available for just about every major league baseball team, as well as silver baseballs, silver gloves, and the like – the perfect way to show your passion for the game whether your team has made the playoffs or not. Shed the ubiquitous ball cap in favor of a pair of baseball cufflinks – after all, players from the early days on have embraced fashionable menswear options such as pinstripes, colored socks, and sporty vests.It’s Time Once Again for the Boys of October to Shine